Cassie gets all literary on your asses!


Hello, my babies. I hope this New Year is doing you fine. So far I think we are off to a rocky start. David Bowie, Alan Rickman and even Grizzly Adams have all gone to the clearing at the end of the path. I know people die all the time, but this year we keep losing people I genuinely like and will miss. It’s a shitty way to start the year. Hell, by the time this goes to print, Lord knows who will be dead. I hope we all make it. Death hasn’t worked this hard since the Final Destination series had its last sequel. I know Death never takes a holiday, but can you please take out a few folks that I won’t miss? (Here is a hint: it rhymes with “Donald Trump.”)

Speaking of The Donald, I do this bit at my shows where I ask the audience to focus all of our psychic energy to kill people … you know, trying to make their heads explode. I know it sounds horrible, and it is, but if it ever works, I promise we will only use our power for good. Ted Cruz, Ethan Couch, a few of the Kardashians and all of ISIS … betta watch out! It will look like a scene from Scanners: BOOM! Exploded heads!

As you can tell, my head is in a weird place. I just finished a Stephen King book from 1985 called The Long Walk. It is not one of my favorites. One hundred young boys have to keep walking till only one is left. When and if they stop walking, they are killed by expressionless, rifle-toting army guys. It’s like Chariots of Fire meets The Hunger Games. It’s the feel-good book of its year.

Like a lot of Stephen King books, I did not like the ending. Stephen King is notorious for people not liking his endings. But damn if I won’t read anything that man writes.
For me personally, even if I don’t like or love the ending, I am always entertained with the journey. He has a beautifully clear way of telling a story that makes it easy to imagine anything he writes. The Stand and The Gunslinger series are brilliant examples of why I love reading his books.

Stephen King introduced me to the author of Hellraiser, Clive Barker … by which I mean, I saw a sticker once on a Clive Barker book that quoted Stephen King as saying, “I have seen the future of horror and his name is Clive Barker.” That was all I needed to hear. I bought Clive’s book Cabal and one of his collections of short stories called Books of Blood. I was hooked. Anywhere I went, I always had a Clive Barker book with me. Including when I went to work, and at the time I was working at Hunky’s.

Yes, I worked at Hunky’s when I was a young, pretty twink. One day while on break, I was sitting in a booth reading The Great and Secret Show, when one of the regulars — a big, handsome, muscled-up guy named Michael — sat down with me. He asked if I liked Clive Barker, I said, “Duh.” He said, “He’s a friend of mine.” I was like, “No way!”

He was like “Way!” It was a very Wayne/Garth moment. He proceeded to tell me that his boyfriend and Mr. Barker are actually really good friends and that Clive would be staying with them the following month when he was in town for a fanboy convention. I just about lost my shit. I told Michael that he had to bring him by Hunky’s. I said I would buy them lunch, rub their feet, handies all around — whatever it took to meet him.

I had a feeling that Clive Barker might be gay from reading so many of his stories. He was the first and only writer I had read that had gay characters. They usually met a horrible demise but not because they were gay but because they were in a Clive Barker story. As a young gay man in the very early ’90s, I didn’t have a lot of books that I gravitated to that had gay people in them, so this was a huge deal for me. And now I had a chance to meet someone I completely admired, I was stoked to say the least.

A few weeks later, it happened. I was standing behind the counter when Michael, his boyfriend and Clive Barker get out of a car across the street. I was so giddy and ridiculous. I told my boss Rick I was on break and met them at the door. He was so nice, and short. I guess in my head I had always pictured him as really tall, but he was normal height.

I sat with them and we all had lunch and talked. I asked a few questions as a fanboy but tried not to geek out too much on him. I wanted him to like me so I held back some of my crazy. Michael told me they were going out that night bar hopping and asked if I wanted to join them. I was like, “Sure, I guess.” But inside I was freaking out. As we sat there at Hunky’s, Clive drew a cool man/monster on my ticket pad. Besides being a great writer he is also a great artist. I was smart enough to put the carbon paper behind it before I gave it to him. So now I have two original pieces of his artwork and autograph. It’s purdy cool.

That night, I met up with them and we made the rounds. I had been doing drag for about year and a half at this point and knew just about everybody at all the bars so it felt like we got the VIP treatment where ever we went. We drank and danced and had a ball. Then I asked if he wanted to go to the Round-Up. I explained that the Round-Up was a country and western bar. He said, “Of course I want to go to the Round-Up. I am in Texas and want the full Texas experience.”

When he saw the dance floor full of good-looking cowboys two-stepping together, his jaw dropped. He was in awe. He said that he had been to gay bars all over the world but this was the first place that he saw men dancing so closely together. He loved it. So I asked him if he wanted to dance. He said yes, but that this was his first time and I should be gentle. I made no such promise and we attempted to two-step to the beat. We probably looked like a hot mess but we had a blast.

My night with Clive Barker was interesting, fun and took some crazy turns. The night ended with me satisfied and a little pissed off, but that’s a story for another time. Long story short, you never know where reading will take you. So read a book, bitches!

Now for a little geek speak. Many people have asked me what I thought of the new Star Wars. I loved it. It was just enough of the familiar to make me excited for the new. It had characters I already loved and introduced me to characters I wanted to know more about. Even though the story line with the new Death Star aka Starkiller Base, seemed very familiar, I was grinning ear to ear.

I was so glad to see it did not have the same cartoony effects the prequels had. The prequels are good movies, not great. It is still hard for me to watch Darth Vader, after he finds out Padme is dead, look up to the heavens and scream, “Nooooo!” like he did in Revenge of the Sith. It was corny and hard to watch. I had always had a little bit of a crush on Daddy Vader till that moment.

Now with Kylo Ren, I fear I may have another crush. Yes he was a moody little bitch of a villain but he gives off this whole, “I have a huge dick” vibe. He struts like he is packing and I am giddy with excitement to see what’s coming next.

I also want to thank everybody for not putting any spoilers out there till after I saw the movie. Star Wars fans are the best and wanted everyone to experience it on their own.

I was lucky, I know there are a lot of assholes that love to spoil shit for others, but for once, I made it to a movie, spoiler free.

Remember to always love more, bitch less and be fabulous! XOXO, Cassie Nova

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 22, 2016.